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Thread: Vampires in myth and history

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    Fantasy Guardian Sabinae's Avatar
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    # Many scholars argue the word “vampire” is either from the Hungarian vampir or from the Turkish upior, upper, upyr meaning “witch.” Other scholars argue the term derived from the Greek word “to drink” or from the Greek nosophoros meaning “plague carrier.” It may also derive from the Serbian Bamiiup or the Serbo-Crotian pirati. There are many terms for “vampire” found across cultures, suggesting that vampires are embedded in human consciousness.

    # A group a vampires has variously been called a clutch, brood, coven, pack, or a clan.

    # Probably the most famous vampire of all time, Count Dracula, quoted Deuteronomy 12:23: “The blood is the life.”

    # The Muppet vampire, Count von Count from Sesame Street, is based on actual vampire myth. One way to supposedly deter a vampire is to throw seeds (usually mustard) outside a door or place fishing net outside a window. Vampires are compelled to count the seeds or the holes in the net, delaying them until the sun comes up.

    # Prehistoric stone monuments called “dolmens” have been found over the graves of the dead in northwest Europe. Anthropologists speculate they have been placed over graves to keep vampires from rising.

    # A rare disease called porphyria (also called the "vampire" or "Dracula" disease) causes vampire-like symptoms, such as an extreme sensitivity to sunlight and sometimes hairiness. In extreme cases, teeth might be stained reddish brown, and eventually the patient may go mad.

    # Documented medical disorders that people accused of being a vampire may have suffered from include haematodipsia, which is a sexual thirst for blood, and hemeralopia or day blindness. Anemia (“bloodlessness”) was often mistaken for a symptom of a vampire attack.

    # One of the most famous “true vampires” was Countess Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1614) who was accused of biting the flesh of girls while torturing them and bathing in their blood to retain her youthful beauty. She was by all accounts a very attractive woman.

    # Vampire legends may have been based on Vlad of Walachia, also known as Vlad the Impaler (c. 1431-1476). He had a habit of nailing hats to people’s heads, skinning them alive, and impaling them on upright stakes. He also liked to dip bread into the blood of his enemies and eat it. His name, Vlad, means son of the dragon or Dracula, who has been identified as the historical Dracula. Though Vlad the Impaler was murdered in 1476, his tomb is reported empty.

    # One of the earliest accounts of vampires is found in an ancient Sumerian and Babylonian myth dating to 4,000 B.C. which describes ekimmu or edimmu (one who is snatched away). The ekimmu is a type of uruku or utukku (a spirit or demon) who was not buried properly and has returned as a vengeful spirit to suck the life out of the living.

    # According to the Egyptian text the Pert em Hru (Egyptian Book of the Dead), if the ka (one of the five parts of the soul) does not receive particular offerings, it ventures out of its tomb as a kha to find nourishment, which may include drinking the blood of the living. In addition, the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet was known to drink blood. The ancient fanged goddess Kaliof India also had a powerful desire for blood.



    # Chinese vampires were called a ch’iang shih (corpse-hopper) and had red eyes and crooked claws. They were said to have a strong sexual drive that led them to attack women. As they grew stronger, the ch’iang shih gained the ability to fly, grew long white hair, and could also change into a wolf.a
    # While both vampires and zombies generally belong to the “undead,” there are differences between them depending on the mythology from which they emerged. For example, zombies tend to have a lower IQ than vampires, prefer brains and flesh rather than strictly blood, are immune to garlic, most likely have a reflection in the mirror, are based largely in African myth, move more slowly due to rotting muscles, can enter churches, and are not necessarily afraid of fire or sunlight.

    # Vampire hysteria and corpse mutilations to “kill” suspected vampires were so pervasive in Europe during the mid-eighteenth century that some rulers created laws to prevent the unearthing of bodies. In some areas, mass hysteria led to public executions of people believed to be vampires.

    # The first full work of fiction about a vampire in English was John Polidori’s influential The Vampyre, which was published incorrectly under Lord Byron’s name. Polidori (1795-1821) was Byron’s doctor and based his vampire on Byron.

    # The first vampire movie is supposedly Secrets of House No. 5 in 1912. F.W. Murnau’s silent black-and-white Nosferatu came soon after, in 1922. However, it was Tod Browning’s Dracula—with the erotic, charming, cape- and tuxedo-clad aristocrat played by Bela Lugosi—that became the hallmark of vampire movies and literature.

    # A vampire supposedly has control over the animal world and can turn into a bat, rat, owl, moth, fox, or wolf.

    # In 2009, a sixteenth-century female skull with a rock wedged in its mouth was found near the remains of plague victims. It was not unusual during that century to shove a rock or brick in the mouth of a suspected vampire to prevent it from feeding on the bodies of other plague victims or attacking the living. Female vampires were also often blamed for spreading the bubonic plague throughout Europe.

    # Joseph Sheridan Le Fany’s gothic 1872 novella about a female vampire, “Carmilla,” is considered the prototype for female and lesbian vampires and greatly influenced Bram Stoker’s own Dracula. In the story, Carmilla is eventually discovered as a vampire and, true to folklore remedies, she is staked in her blood-filled coffin, beheaded, and cremated.

    # Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) remains an enduring influence on vampire mythology and has never gone out of print. Some scholars say it is clearly a Christian allegory; others suggest it contains covert psycho-sexual anxieties reflective of the Victorian era.

    # According to several legends, if someone was bitten by a suspected vampire, he or she should drink the ashes of a burned vampire. To prevent an attack, a person should make bread with the blood of vampire and eat it.

    # Thresholds have historically held significant symbolic value, and a vampire cannot cross a threshold unless invited. The connection between threshold and vampires seems to be a concept of complicity or allowance. Once a commitment is made to allow evil, evil can re-enter at any time.

    # Before Christianity, methods of repelling vampires included garlic, hawthorn branches, rowan trees (later used to make crosses), scattering of seeds, fire, decapitation with a gravedigger’s spade, salt (associated with preservation and purity), iron, bells, a rooster’s crow, peppermint, running water, and burying a suspected vampire at a crossroads. It was also not unusual for a corpse to be buried face down so it would dig down the wrong way and become lost in the earth.

    # After the advent of Christianity, methods of repelling vampires began to include holy water, crucifixes, and Eucharist wafers. These methods were usually not fatal to the vampire, and their effectiveness depended on the belief of the user.

    # Garlic, a traditional vampire repellent, has been used as a form of protection for over 2,000 years. The ancient Egyptians believed garlic was a gift from God, Roman soldiers thought it gave them courage, sailors believed it protected them from shipwreck, and German miners believed it protected them from evil spirits when they went underground. In several cultures, brides carried garlic under their clothes for protection, and cloves of garlic were used to protect people from a wide range of illnesses. Modern-day scientists found that the oil in garlic, allicin, is a highly effective antibiotic.

    # That sunlight can kill vampires seems to be a modern invention, perhaps started by the U.S. government to scare superstitious guerrillas in the Philippines in the 1950s. While sunlight can be used by vampires to kill other vampires, as in Ann Rice’s popular novel Interview with a Vampire, other vampires such as Lord Ruthven and Varney were able to walk in daylight.

    # The legend that vampires must sleep in coffins probably arose from reports of gravediggers and morticians who described corpses suddenly sitting up in their graves or coffins. This eerie phenomenon could be caused by the decomposing process.

    # According to some legends, a vampire may engage in sex with his former wife, which often led to pregnancy. In fact, this belief may have provided a convenient explanation as to why a widow, who was supposed to be celibate, became pregnant. The resulting child was called a gloglave (pl. glog) in Bulgarian or vampirdzii in Turkish. Rather than being ostracized, the child was considered a hero who had powers to slay a vampire.

    # The Twilight book series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn) by Stephanie Meyers has also become popular with movie-goers. Meyers admits that she did not research vampire mythology. Indeed, her vampires break tradition in several ways. For example, garlic, holy items, and sunlight do not harm them. Some critics praise the book for capturing teenage feelings of sexual tension and alienation.

    # Hollywood and literary vampires typically deviate from folklore vampires. For example, Hollywood vampires are typically pale, aristocratic, very old, need their native soil, are supernaturally beautiful, and usually need to be bitten to become a vampire. In contrast, folklore vampires (before Bram Stoker) are usually peasants, recently dead, initially appear as shapeless “bags of blood,” do not need their native soil, and are often cremated with or without being staked.

    # Folklore vampires can become vampires not only through a bite, but also if they were once a werewolf, practiced sorcery, were excommunicated, committed suicide, were an illegitimate child of parents who were illegitimate, or were still born or died before baptism. In addition, anyone who has eaten the flesh of a sheep killed by a wolf, was a seventh son, was the child of a pregnant woman who was looked upon by a vampire, was a nun who stepped over an unburied body, had teeth when they were born, or had a cat jump on their corpse before being buried could also turn into vampires.

    # In vampire folklore, a vampire initially emerges as a soft blurry shape with no bones. He was “bags of blood” with red, glowing eyes and, instead of a nose, had a sharp snout that he sucked blood with. If he could survive for 40 days, he would then develop bones and a body and become much more dangerous and difficult to kill.

    # While blood drinking isn’t enough to define a vampire, it is an overwhelming feature. In some cultures, drinking the blood of a victim allowed the drinker to absorb their victim’s strength, take on an animal’s quality, or even make a woman more fecund. The color red is also involved in many vampire rituals.k
    # In some vampire folktales, vampires can marry and move to another city where they take up jobs suitable for vampires, such as butchers, barbers, and tailors. That they become butchers may be based on the analogy that butchers are a descendants of the “sacrificer.”

    # Certain regions in the Balkans believed that fruit, such as pumpkins or watermelons, would become vampires if they were left out longer than 10 days or not consumed by Christmas. Vampire pumpkins or watermelons generally were not feared because they do not have teeth. A drop of blood on a fruit's skin is a sign that it is about to turn into a vampire.

    # Mermaids can also be vampires—but instead of sucking blood, they suck out the breath of their victims.

    # By the end of the twentieth century, over 300 motion pictures were made about vampires, and over 100 of them featured Dracula. Over 1,000 vampire novels were published, most within the past 25 years.

    # The most popular vampire in children’s fiction in recent years had been Bunnicula, the cute little rabbit that lives a happy existence as a vegetarian vampire.

    # Some historians argue that Prince Charles is a direct descendant of the Vlad the Impaler, the son of Vlad Dracula.

    # The best known recent development of vampire mythology is Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel. Buffy is interesting because it contemporizes vampirism in the very real, twentieth-century world of a teenager vampire slayer played by Sarah Michelle Gellar and her “Scooby gang.” It is also notable because the show has led to the creation of “Buffy Studies” in academia.
    Article here: http://facts.randomhistory.com/2009/05/02_vampires.html
    Quote Originally Posted by Tabiti
    Hellene of Troy or Sabinae of Apricity

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    Burning in the Melting Pot Wölfin's Avatar
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    I might also add, independant of European Myths, in Japan there have been vampire myths for a very long time. They are described as having silver hair, sickly pale white skin and red eyes. (Sounds like it was developped from seeing humans with Albinism). Of course there was also the drinking blood aspect. I'm not sure of more in depth detail, I shall go check the internet!
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    Cool

    Here's some tongue-in-cheek fun, written by the Canadian biologist Peter Watts, in the notes and references section in his novel Blindsight.

    Blindsight, set in 2082, tells the woeful tale of a band of misfits, led by a "reconstructed" vampire, who travel to the outskirts of the solar system to meet an alien intelligence. Well worth reading if you're into SF.

    A Brief Primer on Vampire Biology

    Homo sapiens vampiris was a short-lived Human subspecies
    which diverged from the ancestral line between 800,000 and
    500,000 year BP. More gracile than either neandertal or sapiens,
    gross physical divergence from sapiens included slight elongation
    of canines, mandibles, and long bones in service of an increasingly
    predatory lifestyle. Due to the relatively brief lifespan of this
    lineage, these changes were not extensive and overlapped
    considerably with conspecific allometries; differences become
    diagnostically significant only at large sample sizes (N>130).
    However, while virtually identical to modern humans in terms of
    gross physical morphology, vampiris was radically divergent from
    sapiens on the biochemical, neurological, and soft-tissue levels.
    The GI tract was foreshortened and secreted a distinct range of
    enzymes more suited to a carnivorous diet.

    Since cannibalism carries with it a high risk of prionic infection,
    the vampire immune system displayed great resistance to prion diseases, as well as to a
    variety of helminth and anasakid parasites. Vampiris hearing and
    vision were superior to that of sapiens; vampire retinas were
    quadrochromatic (containing four types of cones, compared to only
    three among baseline humans); the fourth cone type, common to
    nocturnal predators ranging from cats to snakes, was tuned to nearinfrared.
    Vampire grey matter was "underconnected" compared to
    Human norms due to a relative lack of interstitial white matter; this
    forced isolated cortical modules to become self-contained and
    hypereffective, leading to omnisavantic pattern-matching and
    analytical skills
    .

    Virtually all of these adaptations are cascade effects that— while
    resulting from a variety of proximate causes— can ultimately be
    traced back to a paracentric inversion mutation on the Xq21.3
    block of the X-chromosome. This resulted in functional changes
    to genes coding for protocadherins (proteins that play a critical role
    in brain and central nervous system development). While this
    provoked radical neurological and behavioral changes, significant
    physical changes were limited to soft tissue and microstructures
    that do not fossilise. This, coupled with extremely low numbers
    of vampire even at peak population levels (existing as they did at
    the tip of the trophic pyramid) explains their virtual absence from
    the fossil record.

    Significant deleterious effects also resulted from this cascade.
    For example, vampires lost the ability to code for e-Protocadherin
    Y, whose genes are found exclusively on the hominid Y
    chromosome. Unable to synthesise this vital protein themselves,
    vampires had to obtain it from their food. Human prey thus
    comprised an essential component of their diet, but a relatively
    slow-breeding one (a unique situation, since prey usually
    outproduce their predators by at least an order of magnitude).
    Normally this dynamic would be utterly unsustainable: vampires
    would predate humans to extinction, and then die off themselves
    for lack of essential nutrients.

    Extended periods of lungfish-like dormancy (the so-called
    "undead" state)—and the consequent drastic reduction in vampire
    energetic needs— developed as a means of redressing this
    imbalance. To this end vampires produced elevated levels of
    endogenous Ala-(D) Leuenkephalin (a mammalian hibernationinducing
    peptide) and dobutamine, which strengthens the heart
    muscle during periods on inactivity.


    Another deleterious cascade effect was the so-called "Crucifix
    Glitch
    "— a cross-wiring of normally-distinct receptor arrays in the
    visual cortex, resulting in grand mal-like feedback seizures
    whenever the arrays processing vertical and horizontal stimuli fired
    simultaneously across a sufficiently large arc of the visual field.
    Since intersecting right angles are virtually nonexistent in nature,
    natural selection did not weed out the Glitch until H. sapiens
    sapiens
    developed Euclidean architecture; by then, the trait had
    become fixed across H. sapiens vampiris via genetic drift, and—
    suddenly denied access to its prey—the entire subspecies went
    extinct shortly after the dawn of recorded history.

    You'll have noticed that Jukka Sarasti, like all reconstructed
    vampires, sometimes clicked to himself when thinking. This is
    thought to hail from an ancestral language, which was hardwired
    into a click-speech mode more than 50,000 years BP. Click-based
    speech is especially suited to predators stalking prey on savannah
    grasslands (the clicks mimic the rustling of grasses, allowing
    communication without spooking quarry) The Human language
    most closely akin to Old Vampire is Hadzane.
    Watts' website is www.rifters.com. Love this quote on the front page btw:

    "Whenever I find my will to live becoming too strong, I read Peter Watts."

    —James Nicoll

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    The Bulgarian Vampire:
    The Bulgarian Vampire: The Bulgarian words for the vampire, a variety of the Slavic vampire derived from the original Slavic opyrb/opirb. Its modern form appears variously as vipir, vepir, or vapir), or even more commonly as vampir a borrowing from Russian. The modern idea of the vampire in Bulgaria evolved over several centuries. Most commonly, the Bulgarian vampire was associated with problems of death and burial, and the emergence of vampires was embedded in the very elaborate myth and ritual surrounding death. At the heart of the myth was a belief that the spirits of the dead went on a journey immediately after death. Guided by their guardian angel, they traveled to all of the places they had visited during their earthly life. At the completion of their journey, which occurred in the 40 days after their death, the spirit then journeyed to the next life. However, if the burial routine was done improperly, the dead might find their passage to the next world blocked. Generally, in Bulgaria, the family was responsible for preparing the body for burial. There were a number of ways in which the family could err or become negligent in their preparation. Also, the body had to be guarded against a dog or cat jumping over it or a shadow falling on it prior to burial. The body had to be properly washed. Even with proper burial, a person who died a violent death might return as a vampire.

    As in other Slavic countries, certain people were likely candidates to become vampires. Those who died while under excommunication from the church might become a vampire. Drunkards, thieves, murderers, and witches were also to be watched. Bulgaria was a source of tales of vampires who had returned to life, taken up residence in a town where they were not known, and lived for many years as if alive. They even married and fathered children. Such people were detected after many years because of some unusual event which occurred. Apart from their nightly journeys in search of blood, the vampire would appear normal, even eating a normal diet.

    Among the Gagauz people-Bulgarians who speak their own language, Gagauzi-the vampire was called obur, possibly a borrowing from the Turkish word for glutton. As with other vampires among the southern Slavs , the obur was noted as a gluttonous blood drinker. As part of the efforts to get rid of it, it would be enticed by the offerings of rich food or excrement. The obur was also loud, capable of creating noises like firecrackers, and could move objects like a poltergeist.

    James Frazer noted the existence of a particular Bulgarian vampire, the ustrel. The ustrel was described as the spirit of a child who had been born on a Saturday but who died before receiving baptism. On the ninth day after its burial, a ustrel was believed to work its way out of its grave and attack cattle or sheep by draining their blood. After feasting all night, it returned to its grave before dawn. After some 10 days of feeding, the ustrel was believed to be strong enough that it did not need to return to its grave. It found a place to rest during the day either between the horns of a calf or ram or between the hind legs of a milch-cow. It was able to pick out a large herd and begin to work its way through it, the fattest animals first. The animals it attacked-as many as five a night-would die the same night. If a dead animal was cut open, the signs of the wound that the vampire made would be evident.

    As might be suspected, the unexplained death of cows and sheep was the primary sign that a vampire was present in the community. If a ustrel was believed to be present, the owner of the herd could hire a vampirdzhija, or vampire hunter, a special person who had the ability to see them, so that all doubt as to its presence was put aside. Once it was detected, the village would go through a particular ritual known throughout Europe as the lighting of a needfire. Beginning on a Saturday morning, all the fires in the village were put out. The cattle and sheep were gathered in an open space. They were then marched to a nearby crossroads where two bonfires had been constructed. The bonfires were lit by a new fire created by rubbing sticks together. The herds were guided between the fires. Those who performed this ritual believed that the vampire dropped from the animal on whose body it had made its home and remained at the crossroads where wolves devoured it. Before the bonfires burned out, someone took the flame into the village and used it to rekindle all the household fires.

    Other vampires, those that originated from the corpse of an improperly buried person or a person who died a violent death, were handled with the traditional stake. There were also reports from Bulgaria of a unique method of dealing with the vampire: bottling. This practice required a specialist, the djadadjii, who had mastered the art. The djadadjii's major asset was an icon, a holy picture of Jesus, Mary, or one of the Christian saints. The vampire hunter took his icon and waited where the suspected vampire was likely to appear. Once he saw the vampire, he chased it, icon in hand. The vampire was driven toward a bottle that had been stuffed with its favorite food. Once the vampire entered the bottle, it was corked and then thrown into the fire.

    The folklore of the vampire has suffered in recent decades. The government manifested great hostility toward all it considered superstitious beliefs, which included both vampires and the church. As the church was suppressed, so was the unity of village life that provided a place for tales of vampires to exist.
    “The truth is lived, not taught."
    Tabiti is just a paranoid Bulgarian who clearly has an agenda
    Void aka Dusan

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    [YOUTUBE]rkPNrRuRfus[/YOUTUBE]



    P.S.: Why on Earth was this moved to the Romanian section?
    [SPOILER=La fîntînă la mocrină][YOUTUBE]ecSLcemo3dI[/YOUTUBE][/SPOILER]

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    im vampire. energetic vampire. sometimes

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    Default Vampires in myth and history

    Vampire myths go back thousands of years and occur in almost every culture around the world. Their variety is almost endless; from red eyed monsters with green or pink hair in China to the Greek Lamia which has the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a winged serpent; from vampire foxes in Japan to a head with trailing entrails known as the Penanggalang in Malaysia.

    However, the vampires we are familiar with today, although mutated by fiction and film, are largely based on Eastern European myths. The vampire myths of Europe originated in the far East, and were transported from places like China, Tibet and India with the trade caravans along the silk route to the Mediterranean. Here they spread out along the Black Sea coast to Greece, the Balkans and of course the Carpathian mountains, including Hungary and Transylvania.

    Our modern concept of the vampire still retains threads, such as blood drinking, return from death, preying on humans at night, etc in common with the Eastern European myths. However many things we are familiar with; the wearing of evening clothes, capes with tall collars, turning into bats, etc are much more recent inventions.

    On the other hand, many features of the old myths such as the placing of millet or poppy seeds at the gravesite in order to keep the vampire occupied all night counting seeds rather than preying on relatives, have all but disappeared from modern fiction and film.

    Even among the Eastern European countries there is a large variety of vampires.

    SLAVIC VAMPIRES:

    The Slavic people including most east Europeans from Russia to Bulgaria, Serbia to Poland, have the richest vampire folklore and legends in the world. The Slavs came from north of the Black Sea and were closely associated with the Iranians. Prior to 6th centuryAD they migrated north and west to where they are now. Christianization began almost as soon as they arrived in their new homelands. But through the 9th and 10th centuries the Eastern Orthodox Church and the western Roman Church were struggling with each other for supremacy. They formally broke in 1054 AD, with the Bulgarians, Russians, and Serbians staying Orthodox, while the Poles, Czechs, and Croatians went Roman. This split caused a big difference in the development of vampire lore - the Roman church believed incorrupt bodies were saints, while the Orthodox church believed they were vampires.

    Causes of vampirism included: being born with a caul, teeth, or tail, being conceived on certain days, irregular death, excommunication, improper burial rituals etc. Preventative measures included: placing a crucifix in the coffin, or blocks under the chin to prevent the body from eating the shroud, nailing clothes to coffin walls for the same reason, placing millet or poppy seeds in the grave because vampires had a fascination with counting, or piercing the body with thorns or stakes.

    Evidence that a vampire was at work in the neighbourhood included: death of cattle, sheep, relatives, neighbours, exhumed bodies being in a lifelike state with new growth of the fingernails or hair, or if the body was swelled up like a drum, or there was blood on the mouth and if the corpse had a ruddy complexion.

    Vampires could be destroyed by staking, decapitation (the Kashubs placed the head between the feet), burning, repeating the funeral service, holy water on the grave, exorcism.

    ROMANIA:

    Romania is surrounded by Slavic countries, so it isn't surprising that their vampires are variants of the Slavic vampire. They are called Strigoi based on the Roman term strix for screech owl which also came to mean demon or witch.
    There are different types of strigoi: strigoi vii are live witches who will become vampires after death. They can send out their soul at night to meet with other witches or with Strigoi mort who are dead vampires. The strigoi mort are the reanimated bodies which return to suck the blood of family, livestock, and neighbours.

    A person born with a caul, tail, born out of wedlock, or one who died an unnatural death, or died before baptism, was doomed to become a vampire. As was the seventh child of the same sex in a family, the child of a pregnant woman who didn't eat salt or was looked at by a vampire, or a witch. And naturally, being bitten by vampire, meant certain condemnation to a vampiric existence after death.

    The Vircolac which is sometimes mentioned in folklore was more closely related to a mythological wolf that could devour the sun and moon and later became connected with werewolves rather than vampires. The person afflicted with lycanthropy could turn into a dog, pig, or wolf.

    The vampire was usually first noticed when it attacked family and livestock, or threw things around in the house. Vampires, along with witches, were believed to be most active on the Eve of St George's Day (April 22 Julian, May 4 Gregorian calendar), the night when all forms of evil were supposed to be abroad. St Georges Day is still celebrated in Europe (In Serbia it's major holiday).

    A vampire in the grave could be told by holes in the earth, an undecomposed corpse with a red face, or having one foot in the corner of the coffin. Living vampires were found by distributing garlic in church and seeing who didn't eat it.

    Graves were often opened three years after death of a child, five years after the death of a young person, or seven years after the death of an adult to check for vampirism.

    Measures to prevent a person becoming a vampire included, removing the caul from a newborn and destroying it before the baby could eat any of it, careful preparation of dead bodies, including preventing animals from passing over the corpse, placing a thorny branch of wild rose in the grave, and placing garlic on windows and rubbing it on cattle, especially on St George's & St Andrew's days.

    To destroy a vampire, a stake was driven through the body followed by decapitation and placing garlic in the mouth. By the 19th century people were shooting a bullet through the coffin. For resistant cases, the body was dismembered and the pieces burned, mixed with water, and given to family members as a cure.

    BATS:

    No discussion of vampires is even thinkable without talking about bats. They are integral to the modern day concept of the vampire, but this was not always the case. Many cultures have various myths about bats. In South America, Camazotz was a bat god.

    of the caves living in the Bathouse of the Underworld. In Europe, bats and owls were long associated with the supernatural, mainly because they were night creatures. On the other hand, the Gypsies thought them lucky - they wore charms made of bat bones. And in England the Wakefield crest and those of some others have bats on them.

    So how did bats end up becoming associated with vampires? There are only three species of vampires bats in the entire world, all of which occur in Central and South America. During the 16th century the Spanish conquistadors first came into contact with them and recognized the similarity between the feeding habits of the bats and those of their
    mythical vampires. It wasn't long before they began to associate bats with their vampire legends. Over the following centuries the association became stronger and was used by various people, including James Malcom Rhymer who wrote "Varney the Vampyre" in the 1840's. Stoker cemented the linkage of bats and vampires in the minds of the general public.

    EIGHTEENTH CENTURY VAMPIRE CONTROVERSY:

    Today everyone is familiar with vampires, but in Britain very little was known of vampires prior to the 18th century. What brought the vampire to the attention of the general public? During the 18th century there was a major vampire scare in Eastern Europe. Even government officials frequently got dragged into the hunting and staking of vampires.
    This controversy was directly responsible for England's current vampire myths. In fact, the word Vampire only came into English language in 1732 via an English translation of a German report of the much publicized Arnold Paole vampire staking in Serbia.

    Western scholars seriously considered the existence of vampires for the first time rather than just brushing them off as superstition. It all started with an outbreak of vampire attacks in East Prussia in 1721 and in the Austro-Hungarian empire from 1725-1734.

    Two famous cases involved Peter Plogojowitz and Arnold Paole. Plogojowitz died at the age of 62, but came back a couple of times after his death asking his son for food. When the son refused, he was found dead the next day. Soon Plogojowitz returned and attacked some neighbours who died from loss of blood.

    In the other famous case Arnold Paole, an ex-soldier turned farmer who had been attacked by a vampire years before, died while haying. After death people began to die and it was believed by everyone that Paole had returned to prey on the neighbours.

    These two incidents were extremely well documented. Government officials examined the cases and the bodies, wrote them up in reports, and books were published afterwards of the Paole case and distributed around Europe. The controversy raged for a generation. The problem was exacerbated by rural people having an epidemic of vampire attacks and digging up bodies all over the place. Many scholars said vampires didn't exist - they attributed reports to premature burial, or rabies which causes thirst.Eventually, Austrian Empress Marie Theresa sent her personal physician to investigate. He said vampires didn't exist and the Empress passed laws prohibiting the opening of graves and desecration of bodies. This was the end of the vampire epidemics. But by then everyone knew about vampires and it was only a matter of time before authors would
    preserve and mould the vampire into something new and much more accessible to the general public.


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    Nigel Jackson's "The Compleat Vampire" is a great text on Vampire/Werewolf myths of not only Europe, but across the world. I heartily recommend it.

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    I had read that the Gypsies brought the vampire legends to Europe from India. Could this be partly true?
    www.vampires.com/vampire-myths-originated-in-india/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloodeagle View Post
    I had read that the Gypsies brought the vampire legends to Europe from India. Could this be partly true?
    www.vampires.com/vampire-myths-originated-in-india/

    Would explain the concentration of stories in those specific areas.

    I thought the vampire ideas came from people who witnessed corpses that were exhumed after days or weeks in the grave. When they saw the mouth swollen and bloodied, due to the decomposition process, they thought the corpse had escaped to drink the blood of the living.

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